Platonic Relationship: Rules, Types And Boundaries

The word "love" often calls to mind an image of a cheerful couple. But, in reality, romantic love is just one type of loving relationship you'll experience throughout your life.

the joy of platonic relationship

Yes, there's your bond with a particular person, but there are also acquaintances with friends, siblings, and neighbors. These relationships centers mainly on platonic love and offer additional support outside of a romantic one. In other word, we are somehow all in a platonic relationship.

We need to know how to identify platonic relationship, learn how to navigate and grow them for our good. And here's what you need to know.

Read: How To Have The Greatest Relationship Of Your Life

What is a platonic relationship?

According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, Platonic relationship means the absence of romance in a relationship. This is where most people get it wrong. They think all relationship should be romantic. So, you may have a platonic relationship with your best friend, a colleague at work, a cousin, a workout pal, or just anyone important in your life.
A platonic relationship is one in which two people share a close bond but do not have a sexual relationship. They may even feel love for each other, referred to as platonic love. This concept originates in the ideas of the ancient philosopher Plato, from whose name the term is derived.

At this point, you might be wondering ‘what are the characteristics of platonic relationships’?

The characteristics of platonic relationship includes the following:

1. Honesty
2. Safety
3. Admiration
4. Love
5. Trust
6. Acceptance
7. Loyalty
8. Respect
9. Understanding
10.Connecting over shared interests and beliefs
11. Closeness

"Platonic love is what we feel when there is trust, safety, and validation in a close relationship. It's the sense of feeling good and cared for in a relationship," says Nikki Coleman, a licensed psychologist.

What is the difference between platonic relationship and romantic relationship?

You will be surprise to know that there are lots of benefits in platonic relationships that romantic ones don't always provide.

For instance, a platonic relationship may involve fewer expectations and way lesser to no-pressure, less stress about your physical experience, and possibly a more stable connection as there isn't a fear of breakup, says Guarnotta. Most especially, platonic relationships are not passionate, which often means they don't include overt sexuality.

Platonic relationships also provide an opportunity to explore different parts of yourself and build unique experiences and memories with friends, says Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist.

Cultivating platonic relationships can also help your health. In a large 2010 review, researchers found people with strong social relationships had a 50% higher likelihood of living longer than those without them.

Types of Platonic Relationships

A few terms have emerged to describe different types of platonic relationships. These include:

1. Work spouse: This phrase is sometimes used to describe a close but non-sexual connection between colleagues or co-workers that involves bonds and sometimes even roles similar to that of a marriage.

2. Womance: This term is used to describe an emotional, non-sexual, non-romantic bond between two women.

3. Bromance: This is a term used to describe a close, affectionate, non-sexual relationship between two men.

Are Platonic relationships Possible?

In short, 1001 times possible.

A platonic relationship is a deep, trusting, to a larger extent, spiritual in nature. A bond so powerful it almost seems spiritual in nature. You think, talk, and process almost everything the same way just like in a truly romantic relationship. Platonic relationships are an essential part of human life because there aren’t feelings of romantic expectation which could lead to breakups in a romantic relationship.

Though, feelings of attraction may occur from time to time. But a true platonic relationship remains linked in a way that goes beyond romantic relationships. It is a connection between you and your partner in an effortless way where you feel attracted to each other, keeping romance out of the way.

Are you wondering if you’ve found your platonic partner/soulmate?

21 Signs you’ve found your platonic partner/soulmate 

We’ve defined a platonic relationship/soulmate and found it possible to have one or several. There are many similarities between your significant other and your platonic one.

However, signs you’ve found your platonic partner/soulmate revolve around feelings of mutual trust, commitment, love and satisfaction without the romantic side of romantic relationship.

Here are the signs to look out for if you think you’ve found your platonic partner/soulmate:

1. You can always be yourself.

No matter how silly, or annoying, or messy you feel, you can always be yourself. You never feel as if you need to change who you are or your humor or your taste in music just to be with this person like you have it in a romantic relationship. You can be as silly as you want. 

Your platonic partner or soulmate would never say anything about you changing who you are or anything about you. They like you for who you are. They don’t want you to change because being yourself is how you are both connected in the first place. They just enjoy you being you. Your natural self is intoxicating to them. They just love you just the way you are.

2. You help each other develop and learn.

You both have different experiences and backgrounds just as we have it in a romantic relationship, so there’s plenty to still learn from each other. You may be platonic soulmates and have a lot in common, but there’s always something to learn from each other.

Whatever you are going through in life, they are always there with a wise word or an answer you hadn’t previously considered. You both learn and grow just by simply being in each other’s lives.

3. You are always there for one another.

Another way of knowing that you’ve found a platonic partner, is that you are always there for one another coupled with your busy or demanding schedule. You know when to call and they’ll always answer and give a listening ear. Same apply to you. This person also have an encouraging voice. No matter how down casted you feel, just talking to this person will give you a big relief from whatever you’re going through.

Talking about space in relationship: maybe you need some space to process something in your life, they will always give you the needed space you need when you need it and be there for you when you are ready to let them know what you are going through. If you’re going through an emotionally challenging situation, they’ll be there for you. Platonic partner or soulmate know what you need and when you need it without you ever asking.

4. There is no need to feel judged.

No matter how much you’ve messed up or what ever trouble you’ve gotten yourself into, you are never scared or ashamed to share your experience(s) with your platonic partner or soulmate because they always have your back. Nothing is embarrassing or too difficult to share with them. You are comfortable sharing the uncomfortable parts of your life together.

5. You both have your own language.

For instance, if someone was in your tête-à-tête and you need to communicate with your partner only, they might need an interpreter because you and your platonic soulmate have created your own language with television quotes, movie, funny sayings, or self made-up words only you two know the exact meaning of those wonderful words. It’s easy for you to talk to your platonic soulmate because you don’t constantly have to explain your favorite television quotes or have to clarify yourself to other people in conversation. Therefore, it is easy to communicate with them and for them to communicate with you. 

6. You are each other’s number one fan.

Just like sports, you always cheer your player or club on. You are not interested in the other club or player. Even when they are not performing well enough, you still cheer them up. So is your platonic partner. When something thrilling happens in your life, you can’t wait to share it with your number one fan (your platonic soulmate). They are the first person to stand and applaud you on the sidelines of life.

Even if you are both competitive by nature, there’s never been an issue of jealousy or unhealthy competitiveness in your relationship. The thought doesn’t even cross your minds.

7. There is always something to talk about.

You never get bored when hanging out with your partner because you never run out of things to talk about. You probably even have a list made ahead of time of all the things you want to talk about before you get together because there’s just so much you both want to share with one another.

You share everything and I mean everything. No matter how small or insignificant it might seem. Even if you spilled your wine, they’ll have to know about it.

8. You get asked why you aren’t dating each other.

If your platonic partner is of the opposite sex, your friends and family will constantly ask why you aren’t romantically connected. It’s a natural assumption to make because you and your platonic partner are deeply connected in other areas except romantically and you two get along so well.

9. You get each other’s humor. 

Hmmm, think about this: the only thing worse than someone not laughing at your joke is having them ask you to explain it. It’s not that way with your platonic partner because of your deep connections. They just ‘get’ your humor. They will start laughing at your joke before you even finish telling it.

They know your best punch lines and still laugh every time you tell them. Your sarcasm never goes over their head. It doesn’t matter if it is a good joke or not, you always get a hearty laugh from you them.

10. You know everything about them.

In your platonic relationship, you know everything about each other, but in a good way. You never buy them something they already have for a gift, and you always know what they want and when they want it.

You know all their embarrassing high school stories and never used them to make fun of them, you know who they took to prom and what happened at prom. You find it comforting to know someone so well and for them to know you as well.

11. You can sit in silence and it will not feel uncomfortable.

Unlike romantic relationships, silence could really be detrimental. But here, silence is never an issue. Long moments of silence can be awkward and uncomfortable for most people.

In your platonic relationship, every moment, even in silence, is comfortable and feels way natural. There is never a need to fill the silence with unnecessary conversation. It naturally feels like a time to take a break and get refreshed. You are both happy being in each other’s company.

12. You always support each other no matter what.

Going through hard times is often the determining factor in whether or not a friendship will survive. Not with a platonic partner. You always support each other no matter how hard the times may be for one or both of you. 

Life is hard. There are job changes, relationship changes, aging parents, and financial crises. But you know they will be there with you and stay with you until the end no matter what. 

Good news is even more remarkable when you share it with them, and bad news is never as bad as it seems because they are always there to support you and cheer you up. A tell-tale sign is that a platonic partner is usually more excited for you than you are of yourself, as it should be.

13. Distance is never a problem.

Distance has never and will never be a problem with your platonic partner. Your connection is so deep for anything to happen between you two.

You know that you both plan your vacations and weekends to travel to see each other or meet in the middle. If distance doesn’t come between you and your long-distance platonic partner, then nothing will.

14. You always make time out for one another.

You just simply prioritize your time with each other. You know that no matter what, your partner will be just a phone call away or a text away or maybe just a ride away. So, if either of you needs someone to talk to or sit with a love one in the hospital, you know you will never be alone.

You know your partner will always be there for you. Time is a precious gift to give each other, which makes platonic relationship such as a special one. And at the end, you feel important, which is how it is supposed to be in any type of relationship.

15. The timing is just right.

It was though, as if fate brought you two together at just the right time. You realize along the line that your platonic partner showed up at the precise moment you needed someone and now couldn’t imagine a life without them.

Possibly they have been supportive figures in your life at just the right time or they’ve had a lesson to teach you. And you may have done the same for them too.

16. You in no way feel alone.

The connection you have with your platonic partner is so deep and it gives you a sense of belonging and acceptance. In other words, you never feel alone in life or out of place. No matter where you go in the world, having the comfort and security of your relationship gives you a place to always feel at home. You reach out to your partner just with a tap. This is how it is suppose to be.

17. It feels like a piece of you is missing whenever you are apart.

Whether it is just a few hours, days or a few weeks, something seems to be missing whenever they aren’t around. Regardless of how long it has been since you’ve seen each other, you probably send numerous texts, emails, and sure, FaceTiming.

18. You seem to have the same taste bud.

If you get to the restaurant first, you don’t need to ask what they like. You already know what to order, how they like their burger cooked, etc. You never have to worry that they will make butter cakes when you are going over for dinner because they don’t like butter cakes either.

19. Their family is your family and vice versa.

Your mum always gives them a card and money on their birthday, and their dad helped you move into your apartment. It’s like having a family outside your nuclear family. It’s like an extended family for every moment.

Your family maybe unconventional but your platonic partner considers them family as well. Both of your families know you’re meant for each other.

20. They are a safe haven in a chaotic world.

You never experience feelings of anxiety when you are around your platonic partner. Instead, there’s always a sense of calm and acceptance. You embrace each other’s faults and failures, knowing each other is worth more than what the world sees.

21. Their loyalty is never questioned.

People might talk about you behind your back. Those around you might not understand what you go through in life. One thing is for sure, your platonic partner has your back. They would never ill talk you. You always stand up for each other.

Rules for platonic relationship

According to Guarnotta, potential boundaries to consider in a platonic relationship if you want it to work are:

1. Limiting physical intimacy.

2. Don't gossip or complain about your partners to each other.

3. Consistent respect for each other.

4. Don't engage in physical contact beyond casual intimacy (i.e., avoid things like handholding, kissing, or "friends-with-benefits" situations).

5. Avoiding topics of disagreement or discomfort.

6. Don't ditch your partner to spend time with your platonic friend.

7. Not letting conflict fester without discussion.

8. Don't hide your platonic relationship from your partner.

9. Give each other some space.

10. Make time for your other relationships because every relationship is important. Balancing is needed.

Ways to Make a Platonic Relationship Work

There's a unique vibe platonic friends enjoy from non-sexual intimacy and the freedom to be completely susceptible. However, relationship experts are divided on whether people of the opposite sex can be in a platonic relationship for long.

Read: Important Rules To Make A Relationship Last Long

According to some psychologists, it can work if you know these secrets rules for cultivating a relationship that is purely platonic.

1. Set healthy boundaries.

Every type of relationship needs healthy boundaries to guide how everyone conducts themselves with each other. A boundary is a rule you express to others to guide them on how to communicate with and treat you, vice versa. It must be clearly stated since it's not logical to expect others to know what things please you or turn you off. Your partner isn’t a magician and so don’t expect them to know what is on your mind. You need to write it out if need be.

In a platonic relationship, drawing those lines allows you to set the tone on how emotionally close you want to get. You should set rules on communication, subjects that are taboo, respect for each other's romantic partners if you already have or plan to have one in the future.

It is a known fact that platonic partners of opposite sex can easily become sexually intimate without established boundaries. Hence, the need to set healthy boundaries from the onset of the relationship.

2. Give each other needed space.

It is important to always be mindful of how you shape your relationship with a male or female who isn't your girlfriend or boyfriend. Refrain from acting clingy so you don't come across as if you're in a relationship. Be attentive to how you interact when you speak over the phone on in a one-on-one conversation.

Your body language must align with the meaning of PLATONIC. Maintain personal space when you hang out. Spending time alone at each other's home should be avoided at all costs. Socializing behind closed doors can send the wrong message or ignite intimate desires.

3. Be honest about how you feel.

You and your platonic partner should have an open and honest conversation about why you want to be in the relationship. Some of the common reasons include deep respect, shared interests or admiration. Stating intentions in the early stages of your friendship lets you see if everyone is on the same page or not.

Continuing with the relationship can be risky if one party expresses sexual attraction. Physical chemistry can be difficult to manage and can interfere with moving ahead when there's an overhanging threat of intimacy. If flirtations or sexual attraction arise after the relationship is well-established, share them.

4. Refrain from physical affection.

Avoiding physical types of touching reserved for romantic relationships is an important rule for a healthy bond between platonic friends. That's because hugging or holding hands involves touching and close physical contact that can spark chemistry.

5. Don’t go on dates.

Another ground rule is to engage in activities that aren't suggestive of a romance. Strike out these types of schedule off the list “dates in a romantic scenery, nightly hangouts and at-home Netflix-and-chill. But this is if your platonic partner is of the opposite sex.

These meetings are typically a part of romantic dating and can send mixed signals. It doesn't matter if you've been friends for a long time or you believe everyone has their feelings checked. Certain environments can spark romantic interest without even realizing it than if you were meeting in a public place. Reserve dating activities, romantic gestures, and cozy settings for your romantic partner instead.

6. Avoid sex or dirty talks.

Another important way to keep your platonic relationship intact is to keep sex or dirty talks off the table. It's natural for sexual tension to arise between a man and woman who share a heterosexual friendship. With boundaries set earlier on, both of you will know not to act on those feelings.

Introducing anything sexually suggestive can create inappropriate sexual urges. The reality is that you're walking a thin line in this close but non-romantic relationship that can become intimate unintentionally.

The nature of your bond will automatically change with sexual intimacy and can ruin the relationship. If sex happens, recovering from it can be challenging, especially if the romantic feelings aren't mutual. Ask yourself if it's worth losing this bond over a moment of pleasure.

7. Tell your partner about your new friend.

You might be tempted to avoid a conflict with your partner by keeping your platonic friendship a secret. Perhaps they're jealous or they are struggling with insecurities about themselves.

You owe it to your spouse to be open and honest about relationships with the opposite sex. Keeping them informed can minimize conflict later on. Make them feel included and respected by letting them know when and where you're hanging out with your friend. Yes, this could be extremely difficult.

Platonic relationships are often friendships. And while the lack of a sexual relationship is what characterizes this type of connection, it does not necessarily mean that the individuals in the relationship are not attracted to each other or could not start to feel attracted to one another.

Picture: Pexels

Platonic Relationship: Rules, Types And Boundaries Platonic Relationship: Rules, Types And Boundaries Reviewed by Civian on 11:05 Rating: 5

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